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Grimes responds to Poppy’s bullying accusation

Grimes
photo by Eli Russell Linnetz

Grimes has responded after Poppy says she was “kind of bullied into submission by [Grimes] and her team of self-proclaimed feminists” during the making of their collaborative song “Play Destroy.” “You dragged me into a disgusting situation,” Grimes wrote in a since-deleted Instagram story screencapped by a Reddit user, “and won’t stop punishing me for not wanting to be a part of it.” She continues, “I don’t want to work with you, you leaked the song anyway. [You] got what you want. Let it go.”

“I feel stupid responding, I hate tabloidy drama,” Grimes wrote in an aside, “I’ll delete this shortly but just defending myself. Would love if we could all just get back to work.”

While Grimes didn’t specify the “disgusting situation” Poppy got her into, Grimes faced criticism when her collaboration with Poppy was first announced, due to allegations that Poppy and Titanic Sinclair stole the identity of singer, actress, and YouTuber Mars Argo.

Polygon delved into the complicated case:

Can a living art project be found guilty of identity theft?

That’s the question posed in the case of Mars Argo (Brittany Sheets), the singer-turned-YouTuber-turned-actress who is suing her former boyfriend and band partner Titanic Sinclair (Corey Mixter) and his current artistic protégé, Poppy (Moriah Pereira).

The lawsuit alleges that Mixter used Pereira to create a “Mars Argo knockoff,” and argues that the duo “copied Mars Argo’s identity, likeness, expression of ideas, sound, style,” and “dyed her hair a specific platinum blonde and, in character as Poppy, started to alter her voice to be a pitch higher to mimic Mars Argo’s distinctive speaking voice.”

There are two parts to Sheets’s lawsuit that are crucial to understanding Pereira, Sheets and Mixter’s relationship.

The first, and perhaps most important, is the alleged domestic abuse Sheets suffered at Mixter’s hands both during and after their relationship. Sheets’ lawsuit alleges that Mixter forced her to endure “severe emotional and psychological abuse and manipulation from Mr. Mixter,” while he “constantly insulted her intellect and denigrated and degraded her in public and in private.” The lawsuit alleges that in April 2015, more than a year after Sheets and Mixter’s relationship ended, Mixter approached Sheets “outside the gate to her home and viciously punched her in the face.”

By December 2015, Sheets stopped posting as Mars Argo, believing that “the only way for her to avoid Mr. Mixter was to hide her whereabouts from him, isolate herself from former friends and acquaintances that Mr. Mixter kept in contact with, and essentially ‘disappear’ so that Mr. Mixter could no longer belittle, abuse, stalk, threaten, harass, or find her,” according to the lawsuit. Just like that, Mars Argo was gone.

Until now, Poppy has never addressed the Mars Argo comparisons, and it took a lawsuit to instigate Pereira’s response. Sheets alleges Pereira stood by and did nothing while Mixter behaved abusively toward Sheets.

Pereira’s response hints at a turbulent period in 2015, after Sheets had departed YouTube, in which a restraining order was filed against a man named Josh Moran. Moran is known in some circles for co-writing hit songs for indie acts like Børns, but is better known to Mars Argo fans as the rumored collaborator for a project in development.

“Something very few people know is that one of the reasons I work the way I work, and why I have made such efforts to conceal my identity, is because I have my own history as a survivor of abuse,” Pereira wrote in a statement on Twitter. “This legally documented trauma from my past is something I have never wanted to make public, because I did not want to relive it. Ms. Sheets’ publicity campaign has made that impossible.”

The lawsuit was dismissed in September of 2018. According to court documents obtained by The Verge, “parties will settle outside of court.”

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